Friday, January 29, 2010

Got The Camera Working!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Totals and Weekly Menu

Still no pictures due to losing my USB cord during our move. I'm hoping to have that problem fixed by the end of the week.

We have upped our 2010 grocery budget to $300 per month (from $200) so that I can experiment with my cooking a bit more. I've been attempting to get fancy in the kitchen lately and found that it was a little harder to stay on such a low grocery budget especially after incidents like last night's "omelet disaster." Omelet 1 ended up on the floor. Omelet 2 ended up half all over the stove and half just a mess in the pan. Then we were out of eggs.

The new 10% sales tax is also taking some getting used to. After having 0% sales tax in South Carolina, I realize what a large chunk 10% really is.

So, I shopped at Publix, Winn Dixie and CVS this week.

Publix Total Before Sales and Coupons = a little over $190
After Sales and Coupons = 98.53
Receiving $15 in rebates and 4 free packs of Dole fruit cups

Winn Dixie - just bought shrimp = 5.49

CVS Total Before Sales and Coupons = 32.15
After Sales and Coupons = 2.20 (just sales tax)

Weekly Grand Total = 106.22

Monthly Grand Total Saved = 415.48 (58 % savings)
Grand Total Spent = 299.69 (Whew! That was close!)

On the menu for this week is:
Breakfast: Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Yogurt Parfait (yogurt, fresh fruit and rice krispies)
Eggs (Boiled or Scrambled)
Sourdough French Toast

Lunch: Variety Plate (fresh fruits and veggies, cheese, crackers, etc.)*
Cheese Quesadillas
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Macaroni and Peas

Dinner: "Olive Garden" Fettucine Alfredo with Broccoli
Omelets with Bacon and Cheese
Brats with Potato Fries
Lemon Pepper Shrimp with Fried Rice
Jambalaya Bake

*A "Variety Place" is just a plate of whatever sounds good - carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes with dressing and bologna and cheese on the side are typical favorites

Tried the Blockbuster Kiosk at Publix finally. Very cool and much cheaper than a video store! The only catch is the movie is due the next day. It was no problem since hubby was driving by there on his way home from work, though. We'll definantly be doing that again!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Play to Your Strengths

When my husband and I got married I was a complete neat freak. I would stay up until midnight cleaning and making lists (and then re-making the same list because the first one wasn't neat enough). Many homes and two kids later, you would never know that neat freak ever existed. You can hardly walk through 2 1/2 rooms of our house because they are stacked to the ceiling with boxes (two months after moving in) or covered from wall to wall with Christmas ornaments (a month after Christmas). There is always at least one large section of counter top in the kitchen covered and stacked a mile high with paper. The laundry is VERY rarely ever all put away.

I've struggled and struggled with the guilt of not being able to keep up with the housework. After all - I'm here all day. What else do I have to do? A stay-at-home mom's house should be spotless at all times, her kids in crisp clean clothes, and scrumptious hot meal on the table every meal - right?

This week I had an epiphany. I am the only one ever complaining about the mess and I am the only one that it appears to bother. And nobody is great at everything. I started thinking about the things that I DO get done and that I do well.

The list of positive things doesn't necesarily outweigh the list of things that I don't get done every day/week, but they are all of the things that are most important and mean the most to our family. We would rather spend evenings together as a family having fun (since that is the main time my husband gets with us during the day) than scrubbing the kitchen down and washing every dish in the sink. I don't mind the HUGE mess that my girls make when I let them help me in the kitchen. We laugh and sing and dance in the mess and make memories that they will smile about 30 years from now.

I mentioned my thoughts to my former-football player husband to get some feedback. He said, "Play to your strengths."

So, when I make an amazing dinner that we're all sitting around the table enjoying, I'm not going to look around at the cluttered kitchen and feel guilty. I'm going to take pride in the dinner that I spent alot of time working on. And when we're eating grilled-cheese sandwiches, I'm going to be happy knowing that we got all the laundry washed and folded (and some of it put away) that day. Have fun with what part of being a mom/wife that you're good at and enjoy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting Your Office Supplies for Cheap

This past November I decided to try out the Office Max Perks program. At the time they were offering a deal on printer paper, manilla folders and bankers boxes. I bought $51 worth of items and was supposed to receive $51 back in store giftcards.
I did end up e-mailing customer service when my account was not showing credit for my purchases. It was no big deal. They e-mailed me a few days later saying a giftcard was in the mail!

The timing of all of this couldn't have been more perfect. I just ran out of ink last week and have been looking for a deal to replace my cartridges.

This week Office Max is selling HP ink (just what I needed) for Buy 1, Get 1 Half Off! They are also offering full rebates on printer paper (item #21403152 Limit 2), 12 pck. sharpies (item # 10000722 Limit 3), and envelopes (item # 21092826 Limit 3). Go through Ebates and earn 3% cash back on your purchase (and get a $5 bonus if it's your first time signing up)!

I bought 4 ink cartridges, 2 boxes of printer paper (10 reams each), 1 box of sharpies and 3 boxes of envelopes. Using my $51 Office Max giftcard from my previous purchase, I only had to pay $154.37 for all of that and I'm receiving $102.63 back in giftcards and cash (using the MaxPerks program and Ebates)!

Click HERE to find out more about the Office Max Perks program and to sign up!

Teaching Toddlers

Towards the end of 2009 I decided to start "homeschooling" my girls (3 and 18 months). I ordered some materials and planned to dive in at the first of the year. After one day of teaching (actually, it was more like 20 minutes) I realized that I was not quite as prepared as I thought I was. We took a break to regroup and we're back to it this week. Inspired by Claire's favorite show, I decided to take things super slow and focus on one letter of the alphabet each week.

This week we kicked things off with the letter "A." We started off this morning with a viewing of "Alice in Wonderland. I know, I know. Not very inspirational or creative. But I had a number of chores to catch up on from this weekend that we skipped. The rest of my plans this week include simple things such as looking for the letter "A" in all of the books that we read, looking for objects that begin with "A," and practicing writing "A."

None of these things seem like a big deal, but I'm hoping that incoorperating these little lessons into the things that we are already doing everyday will pay off big in the long run.

Free Blockbuster Movie Rentals

I've just discovered that our local Publix has a Blockbuster kiosk! I plan on trying this for the first time tonight when I go to do my grocery shopping. Head over to Southern Savers to get a list of codes that will give you free rentals!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Town! New Year! New Blog!

Last time you visited I was apologzing for not being around much and promising to be back to blogging soon. As you can see (with my last post being October 7th), that didn't happen. We were supposed to close on our old house and move into our new house on October 20th. Part of our closing agreement with the buyers of our new home was that we would be out of our house before closing because they needed to move in that day. So, all of our furniture was in the moving truck, power and other utilites turned off, and we were driving to Birmingham when we received a phone call saying that there was a problem and we would not be closing the following day. Eek! Long story short - we finally closed on Novemeber 30th (nearly 6 weeks later) and got to move into our new house a few days later. We finally have internet and I'm back - for real this time!

So, with all this newness in our lives (new town, new house, etc.) I wanted to start fresh again with everything including this blog.

This week I'm going to be focusing on getting organized. Now is a great time to clean out your coupons and get caught up on any coupon clipping you might be behind on. The majority of last year's coupons expired on the 31st.

If you're trying to get your budget organize HERE is a fantastic spreadsheet to help you keep up with your grocery expenses/savings.

I'm also going to be reorganizing/unpacking our "office" this week. With tax season right around the corner, I want to make sure all of our paperwork is back in it's place so that filing our taxes is a quick and painless (or just less painful) task.

You may notice that all of my previous posts are missing except for one. I was running out of blog memory (too many pictures posted) and decided to just start from scratch.